Manchester United vs. Newcastle United: Date, Time, Live Stream and Preview

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2012

SWANSEA, WALES - DECEMBER 23:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Manchester United is currently on top of the English Premier League table, but it cannot afford to rest around the holidays.

The club hosts Newcastle United and, despite its record, has plenty of talent with the ability to pull the upset.

After a draw against Swansea City, Manchester United needs to make sure it stays aggressive in order to once again compete for the league title.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know for this upcoming clash.

Where: Old Trafford, England

When: Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. ET

Watch: ESPN Deportes

Live Stream: ESPN3

Biggest Storyline: Newcastle's Road Woes

A year ago, Newcastle finished fifth in the EPL, one point ahead of eventual Champions League winner Chelsea

However, this year's version bears little resemblance to that squad, with only 20 points and being in 14th place. One of the big reasons has been the club's struggles away from home.

The Magpies have played eight road games this season and still have yet to win a single game. Only QPR and Reading can match this ineptitude.

It will not be easy to turn things around against a team that has won seven of eight games at home, but they will need to try.

What They're Saying

There is no denying the impact of Robin van Persie's addition to Manchester United. He currently has 15 goals in 19 total games and has helped the club have the top scoring offense in the league.

Of course, Sir Alex Ferguson has even higher praise for the forward, according to The Sun:

I reckon we got our Christmas present early — right at the start of the season when Robin van Persie arrived at Old Trafford. I am reluctant to subscribe to the cult of the individual but sometimes there really is a situation when you are lucky enough to find the last piece of the jigsaw. As we approach the halfway point of the season, I have no hesitation saying that he has made a vital difference to our chances of making our mark in this season’s title race.

If the squad is able to continue its current run and win the Premier League, it will make the boss a very happy man.

Manchester United Player to Watch: Wayne Rooney

While van Persie is getting the attention with his elite goal-scoring ability, Wayne Rooney has been just as vital to the club's offense.

He is scoring at a solid rate with seven goals in 12 league games, but it is important to note that he also is tied for the league lead with seven assists on the year.

Rooney creates more opportunities for everyone on the team by keeping the attention on himself and freeing up his teammates.

Newcastle United Player to Watch: Demba Ba

Only two players have more league goals than Demba Ba this season, and he is the main reason that Newcastle is even still competitive.

On the season, the Senegalese forward has over half of Newcastle United's goals. 

He will not be easy to contain, but Manchester United can slow down the entire opposing offense by shutting down this talented player.

Prediction: Manchester United 3, Newcastle United 1

Based on recent play, it will be difficult to imagine Manchester United being held to fewer than a couple of goals. The front line is simply to tough to stop and will likely be able to put the ball in the back of the net a few times.

While Newcastle might be able to sneak a goal in on a counterattack, it will not be enough to avoid yet another loss for this struggling team.


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